Canada says yes to contactless

Canadians are saying yes to contactless payments. The value of transactions made by consumers in the region more than doubled last year to hit around USD30bn with more than 1.2bn payments taking place in 2015.

That’s according to a new report from TSI, which claims Canadian consumers are now at the point where they become frustrated if they don’t have the option to pay using contactless technology.

It says while barriers to faster adoption include the number of cards in circulation that don’t support contactless and the number of stores that don’t have the relevant point of sale technology, the momentum of consumer demand is paving the way for mobile contactless wallets.

“The contactless market has evolved to the point where consumers are frustrated if the merchant doesn’t accept contactless payments,” says Christie Christelis, president of Technology Strategies International. “A number of merchants have found it necessary to place signs on their POS terminals apologising for the inability to accept contactless payments.”

While contactless acceptance is growing rapidly, that’s not happening fast enough for Canadian consumers. The report says consumers now expect contactless POS terminals – especially in grocery stores and supermarkets. Another barrier is the lack of availability of contactless debit payment cards, especially amongst Bank of Montreal customers.

“Only about one in six people who own contactless payment options do not use them,” Christelis says. “And people are using their contactless payment cards more and more frequently, approaching three times a month, on average.”

In the long term however, growth of contactless payments will lead to growth in adoption of mobile payments, says the report.

“At the present time the mobile payments landscape has not yet evolved to the point where it is easy for a consumer to embrace mobile payments,” says Christelis. “NFC phones still have to make their way into the market en masse, and while some mobile payment options do exist, they don’t work seamlessly for every customer, on any phone, with any payment credential, over any network.”

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